How did you enter the lighting industry?
Two years ago. I was working in retail management and wanted to move into corporate sales and find a job that aligned with my passion for fashion. It became clear that Varaluz was the perfect company for me the first time I walked through its showroom. I discovered that interior design and lighting have that same artistic flair I was craving. Our president, Ron Henderson, explained his design stories and I was hooked. I knew this was a company — and industry — I would forever be passionate about.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen?
This industry is always changing. You must be able to roll with the punches and easily adapt in order to be successful. It has also been a challenge and a triumph for me to create a cohesive, powerful team of sales reps who not only sell, but are passionate about Varaluz. We don’t want reps to merely push our product in the name of numbers. We need a group of passionate people who see our vision, from our artistic designs to our eco-friendly efforts. I think that is a key part of our growth initiatives. As we continue to adapt with the ever-changing environment of the lighting industry, our passion for what we do will drive our team to success.
What has been the key to your success?
We are cutting-edge; we study trends not only in the lighting and home industry, but also in art, fashion, and architecture to stay fresh and exciting. I make a point to join all educational conversations going on in the industry, from the ALA webinars to conferences. I think it’s important to continue to learn from the people who are the experts.
Another thing that has led to personal success is the hunger to always learn more. As a total outsider coming into the lighting industry, I knew I had a lot more work to do than some of the other sales directors. For a lot of people, lighting is a family affair. For me, lighting is a personal passion. It has driven me to do my research and learn as much as I can to be well-informed in a crowd who may have been learning about the industry from a very young age.
Overall, I think that my biggest key to success is my team. They are instrumental in my success, especially while I’m on the road. I never have to worry about how things are going while I am away. Our staff also has the same passion I look for in sales reps, and I could not be more proud of how we have grown together as a team.
What do you wish you knew when you were starting out?
As a total outsider in the industry, I went in knowing very little. There are a lot of things I have had to learn along the way, but I don’t think I would change anything about my induction. I think it is important for fresh, new minds to join us in lighting. These are the people who don’t know the rules, so they aren’t afraid to break them when it is appropriate. I think we should expand our boundaries to welcome more outsiders like myself into our world. This mentality has pushed us to new heights and I think it should be more of an industry-wide initiative.
Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
It is hard to pinpoint exactly where I see myself then. The industry is changing more rapidly than we could ever imagine. From technology to design and sales, everything can change in the blink of an eye. I think my goal is to bring more young people into the industry to move it forward in the right direction. I want to push Varaluz to be a lifestyle brand that connects with younger people, not just through lighting, but through art, charity, and self-expression.
Lighting doesn’t just stop at a beautiful fixture. Lighting is at the heart of homes, and homes are full of experiences we share with our customers. I agree with big brands like Apple and Amazon® on the future of companies: we must market a lifestyle that our customers can believe in, not just a product. That is what I want for Varaluz.